The New York Knicks have been one of the biggest surprises this season, and coming into Tuesday’s slate of games they sat in fourth place in the Eastern Conference at 34-28. That’s already more wins than they’ve had in any season since 2014, and though there are no guarantees yet because of the jumbled standings and play-in tournament, they’re on track to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Such a turnaround has Knicks fever sweeping New York once again, but that’s not surprising given their rabid fan base. What’s more interesting is that other NBA players are starting to take notice. So much so that the Knicks’ reputation with star players is starting to be restored, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times:
There have been whispers for weeks that the Knicks’ flirtation with the East’s No. 4 seed has helped restore their reputation to the point that star players are finally prepared to consider them a destination franchise again. If that proves true, they will have multiple pathways to address the concerns you raised, whether it’s by trying to sign a savvy former All-Star like Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan on a short-term deal as a bridge to free-agent classes more star-laden than this summer’s, or by using future draft picks (perhaps packaged with Toppin) to construct a meaningful trade.
The Knicks swinging and missing at big-name free agents has been a running joke for well over a decade now, and every time they get cap space we hear rumors and reports about how they’re confident things will finally go their way. This is to say we can’t just blindly accept this as fact and pencil them in for a key signing this summer.
Still, it’s certainly not bad news, and an important detail here is that other players are impressed by the Knicks’ product on the court. That hasn’t happened for a long time and is much different from the Knicks having blind faith in themselves because of their location and the aura of Madison Square Garden.
Another item in the Knicks’ favor going into next summer is they’ll have more cap room than any team in the league. Again, we’ve seen over and over that this is not a guarantee, but being able to offer more money always gives you some leverage in negotiations.
Regardless of what happens going forward, the Knicks’ resurgence has been awesome to watch, and it’s clear that they’re on the right path after years of disarray.